“Good things happen to good people”
I have often wondered if there’s a bigger lie than that. Or a more ruinous one.
All the fairy tales we’re told as children, tell us how the innocent, good and the brave live ‘happily ever after’ and the demons are killed. Our parents often reward us for good behaviour and we’re punished for our misdemeanors. And this makes us want to be ‘good people’. Not for the sake of being good, but because we want the benefits of being good.
‘Spiritual’ people often have it worse. Most people on the spiritual pathway want to be ‘good’ people to fit in with the stereotype. Many of us genuinely believe that being positive and happy and accepting of life is how a spiritual person is supposed to be, and strive to get there. Then why do we end up being surrounded by ‘negative’, ‘toxic’, and ‘narcissistic’ people? When we seem to have the capacity to attract whatever we want, how is it that the negative people still seem to seep in?
Because we want to be good people.
Our mind only understands the value of things through comparison. For example, when compared to a homeless person, our life looks very plush. But when we meet a person who owns a jet, suddenly we seem to be living drab, meaningless lives. Neither of the ideas of our lives is the truth – if we tried to assess the true status of our life, it would be very hard if there was no benchmark. The mind needs something to measure things against.
Now, to be surrounded by deeply loving, kind, generous and brilliant people sounds like a wonderful thing, but the gratitude for such a life is quickly going to fade once the comparisons come in to the picture. If everyone around us is a better person than us, then we eventually become the not-so-good person. We’re the lazy one, the dull or the slow one, the negative one – in comparison. But we’ve grown to believe that to get the best things from life, we need to be ‘good’ people!
So what’s the easiest way to become a ‘good’ person? To simply change the benchmark we’re comparing against. The moment we are surrounded by negative, horrible people, we can immediately relax in the knowing that we’re good, and therefore our future is secure – because only good things happen to good people. Of course, this happens at a subconscious level, none of us consciously wants to be surrounded by who we think are bad people. And yet that is exactly what we end up with.
Let go of the labels
When we crib or complain about a person, if we bring our attention to how we’re really feeling about ourselves, we can start shifting things around. Really deep work will even reveal how we want people to hurt or let us down so that we can continue making them ‘the bad guys’.
Working with our shadows and integrating them goes a long way in this direction too. There is no such thing as a good person or bad person. Not only are these terms relative, but we’re all a mix of both, yin and yang. Whether we choose to call it good-bad, spiritual-unspiritual, conscious-unconscious, empath-narcissist or anything else, we’re getting into the same pattern – that of comparison. On the other hand if we view everything and everyone as a celebration of life, and if we realise that nothing is ever really as it seems, we dislodge ourselves from this mess and become truly free.